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Online Casino News - March, 2008

Massachusetts Casino Proposal Overwhelmingly Denied



  Seed Newsvine

by Devon Chappell, News Staff Writer

March 23, 2008

You may recall a recent gambling news article citing the provisions in Massachusetts Governor Patrick Deval's gambling bill that would legitimately ban online gambling activities from within Massachusetts borders.

Harking back to provisions in the UIGEA, the "special interest bill" called for opening three brick 'n mortar casinos in Massachusetts (presumably under the ownership of the bill's supporters, including Las Vegas Sands Inc.), while simultaneously banning online casino gambling so as to foster and protect a land-based monopoly that was estimated to generate $400 million in annual tax revenue.

Well, that bill is no more, at least for the time being. Governor Patrick's proposal was effectively kicked back to a study committee by the Massachusetts House of Representatives by a vote of 106-48. Although some people acted surprise, like Massachusetts AFL-CIO President, Robert Haynes, citing his "disappointment in the vote and in the process", the bill was fraught to fail from the very beginning.

Not only was the proposal given a "not recommended" label from the Massachusetts legislature's Joint Committee on Economic Development, it was plain as day this was a special interest bill.

I don't know about you, but when I think of Massachusetts I think of democracy. Perhaps it's the State's rich history? Oh, and being home to the popular Congressman Barney Frank, who introduced the Internet Gambling Regulation and Enforcement Act (which is gaining widespread support and momentum as the UIGEA continues to prove just how ineffective and unsound it actually is), can't hurt either.

House Speaker Sal DiMasi, who helped organize a committee to oppose the bill, said after the vote, "big money special interests lost". In other words, the people of Massachusetts did indeed have their voice heard. Although DiMasi's motivations were not necessarily to preserve citizen's rights to gamble at online casinos, the bottom line is the bill has been shut down and will not appear on the floor for debate again for at least another year.



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